History- The USA in the 1920s

Covering the USA in the 1920s

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How is America governed?

Supreme Court- highest court in America, has power to say a law unconstitutional

White House- centre of Presidential action, powers on foreign policy, defence, trade, currency etc. Base of FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Senate- one of Houses in Congress; senators elected for 6 years, 2 from each state

House of Representatives- other House in Congress, called Congressmen, elected for 2 years

Congress- has to agree to all laws from White House before accepted

Constitution- lays down most important laws, 'check' on Congress' and White House's power.

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Consequences of World War I- economic strength

(1) The USA overtook European overseas markets

  • More successful than Europeans
  • E.g. overtaken Germany as world's leading producer of fertilisers and dyes.

(2) America had advanced technology

  • new materials (e.g. plastic) were at hand to help
  • mechanisation

(3) One way trade with Europe

  • money poured in due to exports
  • e.g. food, raw materials, munitions
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Consequences of World War I- social and economic p

(1) Unemployment and strikes

  • Bosses refused to take more workers- unemployment meant more wages
  • led to violent strikes

(2) Returning soldiers struggled to find jobs

  • wages low
  • prices high

(3) Racial abuse

  • Jews
  • blacks

(4) Communism rising

  • people feared a revolution
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Consequences of World War I- Immigration

(1) Immigrants brought nastiness

  • E.g. mafia, socialism, anarchy

(2) Lead to ghettos

  • ghettos were horrible
  • violence, drunkedness, prostitution etc.

(3) Lots of immigrants from poor places

  • mostly Eastern Europe (e.g. Poland, Russia, Italy)
  • led to poverty

(4) People of all cleverness trying to get in

  • America introduced 40 word test to limit immigrants- failing meant you were kicked out
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Consequences of World War I- Isolationism

(1) Woodrow Wilson wanted world peace

  • therefore, join League of Nations to help other countries

(2) Congress and people didn't want this

  • wanted normalcy (as it had been before the war)
  • stay isolated from the world- sign of power
  • no soldiers killed in non-American wars
  • felt they had done the part in World War I
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Why was America the richest country in the world?

(1) Justifying the boom

  • Siegfred's book: Europeans find luxuries which are normal in America
  • Industrial production rose from 100 to almost 200 (1921-29)
  • Number of millionaires x5 in 14 years
  • Companies gain more money- higher wages and dividends
  • Lots of people had cars

(2) Who did well?

  • The higher in society you were, the more money you got
  • Still high rates of unemployment (e.g. 11.9% in 1921, to 3.2% in 1929)

(3) What happened to wages and company profits?

  • average wages increased by 10% in 9 years.
  • company profits increased by just over 60% in 9 years.
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Economy Boom- New Industries

(1) Electrical

  • new domestic goods- (e.g. radios sold increased from 60,000 to 10 million in 9 years)
  • electricity use doubled in 1920s
  • 1929, 70% of Americans had lights

(2) Chemicals

  • e.g. dyes, fertilisers, new plastics, man-made fibres

(3) Cars

  • 17 million increase in production (1919= 9 million produced, 1929= 26 million produced)
  • mass produced=cheap and easy to afford
  • created demand for steel, glass and rubber
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Economy Boom- Entertainment

(1) Newspapers and magazines

  • mostly tabloids (e.g. fashion, sports, crime, movie stars)
  • first tabloid in 1919- by 1922, 10 mags had 2.5million+ circulation

(2) Sport

  • most popular sport was baseball
  • 1924, 67,000 at match between Illinois and Michigan
  • 1926, 145,000 at boxing match

(3) Cinema

  • MASS-PRODUCTION industry- Hollywood
  • tickets sold a week increased by 60million from 1920 to 1930
  • comedies most popular
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Economy Boom- Shopping and Advertising

(1) Shopping

  • Chain stores lead to mass production
  • Clothing sales up by 427%
  • Truck industry improved meant goods delivered easier
  • Remote people could buy anything by mail

(2) Advertising

  • New types- e.g. magazine and radio advertising
  • Colourful with catch-phrases
  • promoted consumer goods
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Economy Boom- Transport and Construction

(1) Aircraft improved

  • 162,000 flights by 1929

(2) 1930, paved roads doubled

  • more cars, trucks (x3 to 3.5million by 1929) and buses

(1) Industrial growth

  • skyscrapers demonstrated companies' power
  • office boom- e.g. banks, insurance companies, advertising companies
  • demand for factories
  • schools
  • hospitals
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Why was there a boom?

(1) A good starting point

  • natural resources- provided materials required for growing industries
  • World War I- industries had flying start
  • policies of Republican presidents- businesses could expand without restrictio

(2) New ideas on business

  • new technology- modernised old businesses
  • mass production- materials cheap and easy to afford
  • mass marketing- encouraged people to buy more
  • credit- people could buy even if they didn't have enough money

(3) National outlook

  • confidence- right frame of mind for developments
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The significance of Henry Ford

(1) Mass-production and business ideas

  • Ford was the pioneerer of mass production- put cars on an assembly line and parts are added.
  • 1913, 1 car every 3 minutes. 1920s, 1 car every 10 seconds.
  • Could be afforded by more people because cheap
  • hard work for all, including himself- no shabby work.
  • 1914, doubled wages to $5- loads more workers. Still got lots of profit

(2) Impact of Model T

  • price dropped from $1200 to $295. Cheap, and useful for types of road.
  • brought sense of freedom- encouraged building of roads

(3) Outside the car industry

  • pacifist, politician, anti-Semite (anti-Jews), union basher and charity giver
  • very influential
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Who didn't benefit from the boom?

(1) Black people

  • Most lived in South, worked as labourers or sharecroppers, huge discrimination
  • 3/4 million farm workers lost jobs in 1920s

(2) New immigrants

  • faced discrimination- less educated and stereo-typed
  • lots worked in construction, where wages only rose 4%- CHEAP LABOUR!

(3) Farmers

  • 3million families+ less than $1000 a year- creating more than they need=less income =difficult to keep mortgage=eviction
  • small farmers came out worse

(4) Industrial workers

  • old industries mechanised- loss of jobs (e.g. miners), prices+wages drop
  • too much coal=market shrinking, as oil, gas, electricity more important
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How was life different for women?

(1) Work

  • Mechanisation=more jobs for less strong women (e.g. car production)
  • lower wages meant more likely to be employed than men
  • 1930, number of women employed up by 25%.

(2) Social/political

  • liberated from feminist views- greater freedom
  • more women smoking, drinking, driving cars, wearing make up etc.
  • extreme liberated woman called flapper- considered base of womens' fashion (e.g. short skirts, bright clothes, lots of make up)

(3) Conclusion

  • Many women stayed clear of flappers, still took some advantage of new machines (e.g. hoovers) to get more time
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